Defining a Path
I had a chance to respond to a question on a business networking site this morning on if I had the opportunity to choose my career path over again would I still choose human resources. My response was in the affirmative.
I have been essentially a human resources professional and change agent for over three decades now. I chose that field because I have always believed the most important long term element of organizational success is the power of relationships. Even though I have progressed from human resources to operational executive roles and management consultancy I still believe my greatest contributions are in helping organizations shape and define those relationships.
I also have always had a great respect and admiration for people who can articulate ideas and help disseminate an idea through being a great speaker, artist, musician or other communicators.
When I was writing my first book a few years back the theme of candidate Obama talking about the audacity of hope spoke to me. More recently I have found the words and actions of a congresswoman from Arizona to be equally moving and compelling, especially some of the things she shared in her January 25, 2012 resignation letter when she came to conclusion that she could not focus both on her recovery from a tragedy and serve her constituents as they deserve to be served.
I would like to share some excerpts with you here.
- · Strongly holding the belief that there is no higher calling than serving my country I chose to leave our family business and run for elective office. I disagree with her, but only slightly. I think you can serve the world.
- · Always I fought for what I thought was right, but never did I question the character of those with whom I disagreed… never did I let pass an opportunity to join hands with someone just because he or she held different beliefs. What an incredibly powerful statement. From what I understand she not only says it she practices it. For those of us who lead or aspire to what a powerful example to follow.
- · Amid all that was lost on January 8th (6 people died and several others were severely wounded), there was also hope and faith. Hope that our government can represent the best of a nation, not the worst. Why limit it to government? Why can’t those of us representing academia, business and other sectors aspire to the same level of leadership?
- · Faith that Americans working together in their communities, in our Congress and in our society can succeed without qualification. Once again why stop at our borders? Let’s be a positive role model for the world again.
- · Hope and faith that even as we are set back by tragedy or profound disagreement in the end we come together as citizens to set again a course towards greatness.
Our Founding Fathers well over 250 years ago took some profound steps to do that. They created a new model of society based on personal prosperity and personal competence. As time as evolved we have lost track of much of that and created both a sense of codependency and entitlement, a shareholder versus a stakeholder mentality.
I admire the work and writing of people like Michael Porter, Nilofer Merchant, Thomas Stewart and others who talk about a “new” model of capitalism where profit is measured in terms of shared societal value. The evidence clearly demonstrates that embracing this model doesn’t detract from shareholder value in fact it enhances it. Organizations that embrace true engagement and alignment outperform their competitors in every key performance metric!
Organizations that build themselves on a foundation of trust and respect are stronger and more successful, period.
Over the last two hundred years plus we fought a revolution, survived a civil war, and played a key role in two world wars committed to supremacy of a race or set of ideas.
I personally think that much of the cause for our latest recession was of our own making. We got greedy and we stop focusing on relationships.
We have significant challenges facing us as a society, but I believe that when we recognize that managing health rather than health care, that providing all Americans and then the world with access to a decent education, and attending to their basic survival needs is a societal goal not a solution that can be implemented by government alone or without a role for all sectors we can make enormous progress and return to a course towards greatness.
I am tired of “leaders” whose primary contributions are criticizing the views of others who disagree with them.
I am tired of hearing about the negativity and how if we can just return to the good old days it will all correct itself. The good old days weren’t that great if you weren’t one of the wealthiest 5%.
We are capable of building and implementing a better model and we each have a right and a responsibility to play a meaningful role.
To the Congresswoman I salute you! You were first a spark, then a flame and with me and a few others you have lit a torch.
I hope you will be back in some fashion. We need more real leaders!